KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Violence in western Sudan this month alone has displaced more than 84,000 people, doubling the number of those driven from their homes so far this year, according to UN reports.
The numbers are the highest since January 2021. Last year, at least 440,500 were displaced, five times more than in 2020, according to UN data.
Aid workers fear a displacement crisis akin to the one triggered by the conflict in Darfur in the early 2000s.
Violence escalated there after 2003 as Sudan’s government allied with so-called Janjaweed Arab militias moved to put down a rebellion by armed groups. At least 2.5 million people were displaced and 300,000 were killed.
A peace-keeping force mandated by a 2020 peace agreement has yet to be deployed widely. Finance Minister and armed group leader Jibril Ibrahim said raising money to implement the agreement has been difficult.
June violence includes fighting in the Kulbus locality in West Darfur, where 125 people were killed and 50,000 displaced when Arab militias attacked villages belonging to the Gimir tribe.
“Before we finish responding to one emergency or major attack, another two have already happened,” said Will Carter of Norwegian Refugee Council. “So far, nothing is averting this from becoming a new large-scale displacement emergency.”
In South Kordofan state, home to a separate long-term civil conflict, fighting this month between the Hawazma and Kenana tribes in Abu Jubayhah killed 19 and displaced 15,150 after more than 4,000 homes were burned, said UNOCHA.
In a statement on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said Sudan’s transitional government and military rulers who seized power in October failed to provide adequate protection after the 2021 exit of international peace-keepers or to address underlying causes of the conflict, including land and resource disputes.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, whose Rapid Support Forces emerged out of some of the Arab militias and who is the deputy leader of Sudan’s ruling council, visited West Darfur this week, calling on fighting to stop and promising to donate health and schooling facilities.
(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir and Khalid Abdelaziz; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Nick Macfie)